December 17, 2015
On December 17, the U.S. lead coordinator for implementing the nuclear deal said Iran has been “making tangible progress on a number of key commitments.” Iran has “begun dismantling its uranium enrichment infrastructure by removing thousands of centrifuges and transferring them for storage under continuous IAEA surveillance,” Ambassador Stephen D. Mull told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
At the same hearing, Thomas M. Countryman, assistant secretary of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, provided an update on Iran’s missile program. And Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz (Ret), the undersecretary for nuclear security, discussed the Department of Energy’s role in implementing the deal. The following are their prepared remarks.
Lead Coordinator for implementing the JCPOA Ambassador Stephen D. Mull, U.S. Department of State
Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, distinguished Members of the Committee – I appreciate the opportunity to provide an update on the status of implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA.
My name is Ambassador Steve Mull. I have served as a career member of the Foreign Service for 33 years. Shortly after the JCPOA was concluded, Secretary Kerry asked me to return to Washington from my last post as U.S. Ambassador to Poland to serve as Lead Coordinator for implementing the JCPOA. In this job, I’m leading a terrific team of colleagues within the Department of State, as well as at the Departments of Energy, the Treasury, and Commerce, among others, to make sure that the JCPOA is fully implemented to enhance the security of our country, and that of our friends and allies around the world.
I am pleased that two of my colleagues, Department of Energy Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, General Frank Klotz, and Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Tom Countryman, are here with me today.
As you all know, our government continues to engage Iran on a host of issues unrelated to this nuclear deal. For example, we continue to raise concerns about Iran’s actions when it comes to its support for terrorism or human rights abuses. But my job is focused solely on the critical task of making sure the JCPOA achieves its one, crucial objective – preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. When fully implemented, the JCPOA will dramatically scale back Iran’s nuclear program and provide unprecedented monitoring and verification tools to ensure that it is exclusively peaceful moving forward.
Steady progress is being made toward this objective. October 18th marked Adoption Day under the JCPOA when the deal formally came into effect. On this day, all participants began making the necessary arrangements for implementation of their JCPOA commitments.
This included Iran informing the International Atomic Energy Agency – the IAEA – that it would provisionally apply the Additional Protocol and fully implement Modified Code 3.1, which provides for early declaration of nuclear facilities before they are built, starting on Implementation Day. These are two important mechanisms which will ensure the international community has much greater insight into Iran’s nuclear program than it’s ever had before.
The P5+1 and Iran have also issued an Official Document outlining the plan for redesigning the Arak Heavy Water Research Reactor so that it will not produce weapons-grade plutonium. And the United States and European Union have taken actions to lift nuclear-related sanctions upon reaching Implementation Day.
Implementation Day is the next major milestone in the JCPOA. It will occur only after the IAEA verifies that Iran has completed all of the key nuclear steps specified in the JCPOA. These are the technical steps that push Iran’s breakout time to at least a year, from the current estimate of less than 90 days. At that time, Iran will receive relief from U.S., EU, and UN nuclear-related sanctions. The timing for reaching Implementation Day is primarily within Iran’s control. However, I reiterate that Iran will receive no sanctions relief under the JCPOA until it has verifiably met all of its key nuclear commitments.
Since Adoption Day, Iran has been working to fulfill its commitments and reach Implementation Day making tangible progress on a number of key commitments. For example, Iran has begun dismantling its uranium enrichment infrastructure by removing thousands of centrifuges and transferring them for storage under continuous IAEA surveillance. It has already removed more than 5000 of its machines and is likely to move quickly to remove the rest in the coming days.
Iran is also making progress on reducing its stockpile of various forms of enriched uranium to no more than 300 kg of up-to-3.67% enriched material. It will accomplish this primarily by shipping a significant amount of such material outside Iran, while also diluting the remaining excess to the level of natural uranium or below. Commercial contracts are in place for Iran to ship its enriched uranium stockpiles to Russia. We expect that this material – approximately 25,000 pounds of material enriched up to 20 percent LEU – could leave Iran as soon as later this month. This step alone will significantly lengthen Iran’s breakout time.
As I have briefed members of this Committee before, Iran must also remove and render inoperable the existing calandria – or core – of the Arak Reactor by filling it with concrete before Implementation Day can occur. These actions will effectively cut off Iran’s ability to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Iran and the P5+1 are also continuing work to advance the redesign and reconstruction of the Arak reactor. The P5+1 have set up a working group to facilitate this project, which we expect will begin to meet soon after the New Year.
Regarding the Possible Military Dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear program – an issue on which I know you all have been very focused – on October 15, the IAEA announced that Iran had fulfilled its commitments under the “Roadmap for Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues” as agreed to with the IAEA. Subsequently, on December 2nd, the IAEA Director General released the “Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme.”
The report confirmed what the international community has long known – that Iran had a structured nuclear weapons program up until 2003 and there are no indications that it is continuing today. This candid assessment gives us further confidence that the IAEA will perform its duties related to the JCPOA honestly and vigorously.
And just this week, on December 15, the IAEA Board of Governors in a special session adopted by consensus a resolution addressing the Director General’s report on PMD. This resolution, submitted by the P5+1, turns the Board’s focus from confirming what we already knew about Iran’s past weapons-relevant nuclear activities toward fully implementing the JCPOA. This will give the IAEA much better tools for deterring and detecting weapons-related activities in the future.
We also continue to work closely with the IAEA as it makes preparations to implement the JCPOA’s unprecedented monitoring and verification provisions of Iran’s entire nuclear program. The IAEA will have continuous monitoring of all of Iran’s key declared nuclear facilities. This includes its uranium mills as well as its centrifuge production facilities, a first for the IAEA. These measures specific to the JCPOA will give us increased confidence Iran is not diverting material or equipment to a covert program. We’ve always said that this deal isn’t based on trust but on intense verification of Iran’s program. That’s why we’re working so closely with the IAEA to make sure it has everything it needs to do this crucial job going forward.
Meanwhile, we continue to engage with our international partners on other matters pertaining to implementation of the JCPOA and reaching Implementation Day. U.S. experts continue to meet with our P5+1 partners and others, including the EU and Iran, on setting up the procurement channel – the mechanism by which the Joint Commission and United Nations Security Council will review and approve or disapprove transfers of NSG-controlled items and technology for Iran’s nuclear and non-nuclear civilian industry, as well as any other items if a State determines it could contribute to activities inconsistent with the JCPOA.
And on sanctions, we continue to work within the US government, as well as with the EU and others, to make the necessary arrangements to lift nuclear-related sanctions once the IAEA confirms Iran has completed its key nuclear commitments and we reach Implementation Day.
Full implementation of the JCPOA is in our and our partners’ national security interest. It will place Iran’s nuclear program under an unprecedented verification and monitoring regime, and when fully implemented it will give the international community the tools necessary to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful going forward. It will make us, Israel, our Gulf partners, and the whole world safer.
Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas M. Countryman, U. S. Department of State
Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to talk to you today about our efforts to address Iran’s ballistic missile program. Iran’s efforts to develop increasingly capable ballistic missile systems remain one of our most significant nonproliferation challenges and a very real threat to regional and international security. As we have for many years, we continue to rely on a wide range of multilateral and unilateral tools to work to address Iran’s ballistic missile development efforts and our use of these tools remains unaffected by the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Currently, multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) that target Iran’s missile development, procurement, and proliferation activities remain in effect. In particular, resolution 1929 prohibits Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology. These resolutions require all states to prevent transfers from their territory or by their nationals of missile related items, materials, equipment, goods, and technology to and from Iran. However, even with these strong provisions in place, Iran has continued to engage in activities that clearly violate these restrictions. This has been the case since the adoption of UNSCR 1737 in 2006, and we have continued to draw attention to Iranian violations of these provisions. For example, in October 2015, the United States, in conjunction with the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, reported an Iranian test of a medium range ballistic missile to the United Nations Security Council's Iran sanctions committee as an UNSCR violation. Other Security Council members joined the United States in condemning the launch as a violation, which the UN's own Iran Panel of Experts also agreed was contrary to UNSCR 1929. We will continue to call on the UN Security Council to address this serious matter, shine a spotlight on such destabilizing activities by Iran, and increase the cost to Iran of its behavior.
At the same time, we note that missile tests, such as the October launch reported to the UN, are not a violation of the JCPOA. The focus of the JCPOA is cutting off all of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon. We have long said that the JCPOA was not predicated on any change in Iranian behavior -- including its missile development efforts -- other than specific changes that would have to be made to its nuclear program. Full implementation of the JCPOA by Iran will ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful going forward and thus Iran will not be able to produce a nuclear warhead.
Under the JCPOA, after the IAEA verifies that Iran has implemented key nuclear-related measures, the provisions of previous relevant UNSCRs will terminate but the measures in UNSCR 2231, which was adopted last July after the JCPOA was finalized, still impose restrictions on Iran’s missile-related activities for a period of eight years or the IAEA reaches the Broader Conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities. Specifically, UNSCR 2231 prohibits all States from transferring all items, materials, equipment, goods, and technology set out in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Annex to Iran unless the Security Council decides in advance on a case-by-case basis to permit such activities. As a permanent member of the Security Council, we would not expect to approve such activities.
While these provisions will reinforce our overall missile nonproliferation efforts with respect to Iran, we also rely on a broad set of other multilateral and unilateral tools to impede and disrupt Iran’s missile development efforts. Specifically, we continue to work with many of the over one hundred governments around the world that have endorsed the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to interdict weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related items, including Iran’s prohibited missile-related imports or exports. We also use our participation in the MTCR to prevent the spread of critical missile technologies and raise awareness among the 33 other MTCR Partners (members) of the proliferation concerns posed by Iran’s missile development, procurement, and proliferation activities. We bolster these multilateral efforts through our bilateral cooperation with countries to prevent transfers to Iran’s missile program, promote thorough UNSCR implementation, and target Iranian missile proliferation activities in third countries. In addition, we continue to use unilateral authorities to impose sanctions on entities connected to Iran’s ballistic missile programs and procurement network.
We have no intention of reducing our focus and determination to prevent the development of Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities, even as we take steps to implement the JCPOA. Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss this important security issue with you. I look forward to your questions.
Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, USAF (Ret.) Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, U.S. Department of Energy
Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the status of implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached between the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union, and Iran. I appreciate the opportunity to be here to discuss the role the Department of Energy (DOE) plays in support of the Administration’s implementation of the JCPOA. The JCPOA provides unprecedented verification of Iran’s nuclear program to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon. As we move toward and beyond Implementation Day, the technical expertise within DOE, including the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and at our national laboratories will be called upon to ensure that Iran meets all of its nuclear commitments.
As Secretary Moniz has said, the JCPOA ensures that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, provides unprecedented verification measures, constrains Iran’s nuclear program in a manner that give us ample time to respond if Iran chooses to violate its terms, and takes none of our options off the table.
As noted by Ambassador Mull, the Department of State is leading the Administration’s efforts to oversee implementation of the JCPOA. DOE, including NNSA, plays an important role by providing technical support to implementation efforts. In addition, the Department and its national laboratories will continue to provide technical support and analysis throughout implementation of the JCPOA to help ensure that Iran carries out its commitments.
I will detail for you a few examples of the technical support to JCPOA implementation that the Department is providing.
· The JCPOA blocks Iran’s pathway to producing and using nuclear weapons-grade plutonium by requiring the rebuilding and redesign of the Arak Reactor, effectively eliminating a potential source of weapons grade material. The calandria, or reactor core, from the old design will be filled with concrete and made inoperable. The JCPOA calls for a working group to cooperate with Iran to develop the final design of the modernized reactor, and provides for the final design of the reactor to be approved by the Joint Commission. DOE/NNSA technical experts will provide technical support and review the design of the modernized reactor as well as analyze the fuel design and safety standards to verify that it conforms to the characteristics set forth in the JCPOA, including that Iran cannot use this reactor for prohibited purposes.
· The JCPOA establishes a process for review and approval of procurement by Iran of specified nuclear-related items. This process is conducted through a Procurement 2 Working Group of the Joint Commission. Technical experts in NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control will review and make recommendations to the Department of State, which coordinates the U.S. government efforts regarding the Procurement Working Group, on such procurement proposals. The JCPOA prohibits any procurement by Iran of these items outside the Procurement Working Group process.
· As Secretary Moniz has noted, the JCPOA provides the most rigorous inspections that we have ever had in Iran. DOE/NNSA’s technical expertise and training supports the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) monitoring and verification activities that will be important to ensuring that Iran carries out its commitments under the JCPOA. DOE/NNSA is highly engaged with the IAEA in providing training, technologies, and people to support this critical organization.
The IAEA is responsible for applying international nuclear safeguards, through which the IAEA is able to confirm to the international community that nuclear material and facilities are not being used for the illicit manufacture of nuclear weapons. Nuclear safeguards include, for example, on-site inspections, nuclear material accountancy, physical measurements, containment and surveillance, and environmental sampling.
Let me take a moment to expand on the support that DOE/NNSA provides to the IAEA, and share with the Committee a few examples of the substantial nuclear safeguards work that we support. Every year, the Department hosts training courses for IAEA inspectors and analysts on a wide range of topics including measuring nuclear materials, inspector access under the Additional Protocol, advanced plutonium verification, enrichment technology, export controls and commodity identification. These courses are organized and implemented with the support of experts from our national laboratories and take place in the United States, at IAEA facilities in Vienna, and at international nuclear facilities in collaboration with other IAEA Member States. For example, every new IAEA inspector since 1980 has had nuclear materials measurement training at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico.
The Department’s national laboratories have played a major role in developing and improving safeguards technologies and providing expertise since the IAEA’s inception in 1957. They develop and transfer various technologies to the IAEA for use in safeguards systems all over the world. This equipment goes through a rigorous evaluation process by the IAEA before being accepted into routine use, including vulnerability analyses by independent parties. The On-line Enrichment Monitor (OLEM), developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the IAEA, is one example of a technology jointly developed by our national laboratories and the IAEA. The OLEM is an innovative safeguards technology that can be used to continuously monitor the enrichment levels of uranium in gaseous form at a centrifuge enrichment plant. In other words, it will allow the IAEA to determine if Iran enriches above permitted levels. And for the first time, as a result of the JCPOA, OLEM can be used in Iran.
In addition to our training and safeguards technology cooperation, five of the Department’s national laboratories participate in the IAEA’s Network of Analytical Laboratories, or NWAL, a network of 20 laboratories in 10 countries that provide analytical services to the IAEA. These 3 laboratories undergo a rigorous qualification process by the IAEA to ensure that they maintain the highest quality standards. While the IAEA analyzes material and environmental samples at its laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria, the agency also relies upon its NWAL to assist in sample analysis for logistical purposes, quality control and to have access to state-of-the-art techniques. Environmental sampling, in particular, is a very powerful tool that the IAEA uses to determine if undeclared activities are occurring. The IAEA relies on the U.S. laboratories that are part of the NWAL because of our world class capabilities for high-precision analysis and quality control.
Finally, the United States provides personnel to the IAEA to support the IAEA’s Department of Safeguards in a variety of areas, including technology development, information and statistical analysis, and development of safeguards approaches. As of June, approximately 10 percent of the workforce of the IAEA’s Department of Safeguards was from the United States, and many of these Americans have worked for DOE or our national laboratory system. We are proud of the assistance we provide and the close collaboration we have with the IAEA.
JCPOA is not built on trust. It is built on hard-nosed requirements that will limit Iran’s activities and ensure access, transparency, and verification. The Department takes seriously its participation in efforts to implement the JCPOA and help to ensure that Iran carries out its commitments under the deal, whether that is participating in the Administration’s implementation efforts or supporting the IAEA. Thank you for the opportunity to be here. I look forward to answering your questions.
Click here to watch the hearing.